Dealing with Iran: Confrontation or Negotiation?

By Monshipouri, Mahmood; Keynoush, Banafsheh | Insight Turkey, October 2008 | Go to article overview

Dealing with Iran: Confrontation or Negotiation?

Monshipouri, Mahmood, Keynoush, Banafsheh, Insight Turkey

The Bush administration's deliberate policy of avoiding a genuine diplomatic initiative to address tortured U.S.-Iran relations is slowly proceeding along what may soon become an irreversible collision course. Washington's belligerent rhetoric has heightened in the aftermath of the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, a non-binding resolution passed by the U.S. Senate on September 26, 2007. The resolution, which designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group suspected of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, arguably provides a back door for the Bush administration to start a war against Iran at will. Put simply, the resolution means that the administration could bypass the Congressional approval usually required for an attack if the president so desires. (1)

The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment was viewed in Tehran as a clear signal that Washington had paved the way toward war. The nuclear debate between Iran on the one hand and Germany, France, and UK and Javier Solana (also known as the E3/EU) on the other was based on keeping the talks going by not rejecting, but rather constantly assessing and initiating new proposals whenever setback occurs. Time and confidence building were two distinguishing features of the European strategy. (2) While the E3/EU had invested too much effort and prestige in these negotiations to lose reputation by failing, Iranian negotiating team was equally searching for the right formula, albeit from a more aggressive standpoint, to prevent the talks from faltering. (3) The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment shifted the focus from carrot to stick. Having lost its faith in diplomacy, the Ahmadinejad administration quickly consolidated its power with the resignation of Ali Larijani, Iran's key nuclear negotiator, who was replaced by Saeed Jalili, a hardliner more loyal to the current government. Following differences with President Ahmadinejad, Larijani resigned as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, but remained on the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) helping to devise security strategies as one of two representatives of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In an interview with Financial Times after his resignation, he emphasized cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as being the cornerstone of Iran's strategy, while saying that if the talks were not based on the suspension of uranium as the pre-condition, many problems would have been resolved by now. (4) Larijani became the speaker of the parliament and vowed an active economic and nuclear oversight. He continues to be an institutional member of the SNSC now. How these power dynamics will play out remains uncertain, and it is an open question whether Iran's juggling of personnel will have a moderating or intensifying impact on a U.S. decision to go to war. What is clear, however, is that the possibility of war remains strong.

Nearly five years after the invasion of Iraq, U.S. troops are stuck in a quagmire and Iraq is sliding further into sectarian chaos. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of saber rattling and talk of attacking Iran. Before taking any such steps, however, a thorough assessment of the possible outcomes of a war with Iran is imperative, especially given such an action's wider implications for the future of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Indeed, a thorough assessment might well deter the U.S. from such a problematic course.

An attack on Iran would misdirect U.S. foreign policy onto a track that could only be viewed as a crusade against Islam, reinforcing the notion of a strict and violent dichotomy between the Muslim world and the West. Bush's rhetoric--warning that Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons could result in World War III--relies on and reinforces such a sentiment. Although they may serve a domestic audience, such statements do not resonate well with the rest of the world. Within the transatlantic alliance, Europeans tend to view the United States as belligerent, simplistic, and insensitive to Islam--a view that is bound to undermine the alliance's unity.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Dealing with Iran: Confrontation or Negotiation?


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.